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How Drones Are Helping Forests

Every year 15 billion trees on average are cut down, then just 9 billion are replanted. That is a loss of 6 billion trees in just one year. Replanting forests has been a slow and expensive process, until now. A UK based Engineering company recently teamed up with a drone manufacturer and to create a quicker, cost-efficient method of reforestation.

How do drones plant trees?

  • First, a drone is used to make a 3D smart map of the terrain to be planted. The engineers will calculate a planting pattern that will be the most efficient for the planting drones.
  • Next, the “firing drone” is loaded with germinated seed pods. These pods contain the germinated seed for a native tree along with nutrients needed to guarantee a healthy sapling. Each drone can carry a mixture of different species at one time.
  • Lastly, the drones follow the smart map pattern; flying about six feet above the ground. They fire the seed pods quickly to penetrate the soil, hitting their marks within centimeters. Each drone pilot can operate up to 6 drones at a time.

Engineers estimate the drone method is 10 times faster and can save 80% in cost compared to planting by hand. One drone pilot can plant 100,000 trees in just one day. Because there is no heavy machinery needed it’s possible to plant in hard-to-reach areas that have no roads or, inaccessible terrain. There has been testing in various locations and recently a trial reseeding in historic mining sites around Australia.


Individuals piloting drones for commercial purposes must pass the FAA Remote Pilot in Command  Exam in order to obtain a certificate.
Certified Training Institute offers online video exam prep to ensure you pass the exam on your first try!

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